7 lessons we can learn from wordle & a classroom version to play with your students
Over the course of a week I noticed many of my friends on social media were posting a perplexing grid of squares in yellow, grey, and green with a secret number code. The more I saw it, the more intrigued I became. I couldn't figure out what it was that was filling my Twitter feed, but I was intrigued!
By the seventh day, I couldn't take being in the dark any longer...I had to know! After a little Google research, I had solved the mystery and discovered the daily web-based game, Wordle. The instructions were simple and in a matter of minutes, I had joined millions of others in guessing the word of the day. It has now become a morning tradition to play a game of Wordle along with my morning coffee. This is why I love it, and also why I think it has become so popular so fast.
Curiosity is what drew me in from the start. I wanted to know what these green and yellow grids were all about. I kept watching them fill my Twitter feed until I couldn't take it anymore. I had to know!!
Curiosity is a powerful force! How can we create classroom experiences that elicit wonder & intrigue? Create a little mystery around the learning and you will find your student's interest in your content soars!
Just as my curiosity was sparked by seeing the grids appear in my Twitter feed, I also felt like I was missing out on something special. There was a community of people that knew what the secret code meant and I wanted to be a part of it. Also, every day everyone in the world playing gets the same word. So when you share out your grid on social media, everyone is comparing your daily stats to their own. It gives everyone a sense of camaraderie to know the experience is shared.
Common experiences bond us and make us feel like we belong. When we create a sense of community in our classrooms, students feel like they are part of a family. Incorporate shared experiences that make all students feel a sense of belonging and you will find that your classroom will become a very special community of learners that grow together.
When I talk to other Wordle players, I am often asked, "How do you pick your first word?". Some pick at random, some have the same they use every time. Regardless, every player develops a strategy for what word will be entered first in hopes to increase the probability that the word will be guessed in the fewest amount of tries.
When we strategize, we are critically thinking about the game and what is going to generate the best outcome. When we teach students to strategize, we are helping them develop important skills that will empower them as learners.
Regardless of the strategy you use to select your first word, there is still an element of chance involved. You may select a word that just happens to include 3 or more of the correct letters, or you may strike out and not get any letters correct at all. This levels the playing field knowing that even the most strategic and skilled wordsmith, may have an unlucky day.
When we incorporate some elements of chance into learning, it adds agency and fun. Add a gamified twist to a lesson by adding dice or a spinning wheel and student engagement will soar!
No matter how much you love playing Wordle, you only get one shot a day. This increases the stakes a bit, knowing that the daily word puzzle will only be available to figure out once. One chance to play; one chance to share with the world. The good news is, there is always tomorrow.
It's a lesson in supply and demand. When items are limited, we are much more interested in them and their value is at a premium. What if we created exciting learning experiences in our classroom that are only available for a "limited time"? How much more interested would students be in the learning?
The directions were short, full of visual graphics, and easy to understand. I was playing within a few minutes. If the directions were difficult to understand or too lengthy, I may have decided to pass no matter how curious I was. See the actual directions from the Wordle site below.
Finding ways to make learning intuitive for students is so important. Break down instructions into its simplest form, add pictures, and keep it short. This can make all the difference in how confident and comfortable students feel approaching the learning.
Wordle is accessible on any web-based platform, and it's free. Enough said!
Equitable access is critical in learning. Do all our students have access to the experience we create for them? Making sure every student has an equal opportunity to learn and access the tools we give them is vital. If students can access the learning in class, but not all have an opportunity to access it from home, it creates an unfair learning environment for our students. Being mindful of this when we create our lessons, is so important.
Wordle-inspired version for the Classroom
Like any game that I play, I am always trying to figure out a way to bring it into learning. I have created a template in Canva that you can play in any classroom. See the video below to learn how to play.
Wordle & Pico Fermi Bagel-Inspired Canva Templates
Below I have shared two different game templates to use with your students. The first one is the Wordle-Inspired Canva template. The second one is very similar, but you play with numbers instead of words! The directions for each are in the first slide of the template. Simply click on the button below and you will have your very own template to use with your students!
WORDLE-STYLE GAME NOW ON FLIPPITY TOO!
Have fun and share out your ideas on Twitter and tag me: @tishrich!
Student Engagement & PD Specialist in Southern Oregon, Canva Learning Consultant, Canva Education Creator, and author of Make Learning Magical. I'm passionate about finding innovative ways to transform teaching and create unforgettable experiences in the classroom.